10 actors’ real names you didn’t know
They weren’t born that way.
1. Albert Einstein
I’m sure Albert Brooks has heard a ton of references about being a genius, which is somehow related to his family’s name, and my guess is the joke wasn’t that good. Well, have you seen “Defending Your Life” or read “2030” yet? Because those are two solid reasons to keep on making those lame jokes. (The other Albert Einstein was a Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist, BTW. You can read all about him on the website called Wikipedia.)
2. Olivia Jane Cockburn
Olivia Wilde has dual American-Irish citizenship on account of her UK-born father, Andrew Cockburn, a journalist and author.
3. Thomas Mapother IV
“Cruise” is Tom’s middle name—actually, the same as his daughter Suri’s. This is definitely some kind of WASP thing.
4. Mark Sinclair Vincent
Vin Diesel isn’t Jewish, and he doesn’t play one on TV either. A name like “Diesel” doesn’t quite smack of Italian descent, or Yiddishe for that matter, but who cares what your heritage is if and when Steven Spielberg offers you a big break in “Saving Private Ryan.” Which was a big step up for Diesel, considering he was a bouncer at clubs beforehand.
5. Caryn Elaine Johnson
When Whoopi Goldberg ripped ass on “The View” in 2011, it wasn’t her first fart. She actually named herself after her flatulence. “If you get a little gassy, you’ve got to let it go,” Goldberg once said. “So people used to say to me, ‘You’re like a whoopee cushion.’ And that’s where the name came from.”
Also, Goldberg figured having a Chosen surname would help give her a boost in Hollywood. (True story.)
6. Winona Laura Horowitz
Have you seen David Seltzer’s “Lucas”? Such a cute movie. It was also Winona Ryder’s breakout role, and, when Seltzer called Winona to ask what name should be used in the credits, the actress suggested “Ryder” because her dad had a Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels album playing in the background. You know, these guys.
7. Jonah Feldstein
When I spent an afternoon with Jonah Hill back in 2007, one month before “Superbad” came out, I remember he dodged a question about his real name and kind of made it a non-issue. (The interview was for Heeb Magazine.) So, maybe he’s not as proud of his heritage as Whoopi Goldberg?
8. Shad Gregory Moss
You may have experienced the thespian force better known as Bow Wow in titles such as “Like Mike” and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.” Formerly known as Lil’ Bow Wow, the esteemed actor and recording artist dropped the “Lil'” in 2002. “I changed my name because I’m getting older now,” he told MTV, “and it’s too many Lil’s.”
9. Nicolas Kim Coppola
The long, strange career of Francis Ford Coppola’s nephew traces back to “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” in which, billed as “Nicolas Coppola,” the shaggy-haired teen played one of the line cooks at the fast food joint. See below.
10. Frances Ethel Gumm
Judy Garland, the child actor from “Wizard of Oz” and mother to the actress who plays Lucille Austero on “Arrested Development,” was once a traveling Vaudevillian with her parents. Her dad was a closeted homosexual which caused problems for the family act. “The Gumm family would regularly be forced to leave town[s] owing to her father’s illicit affairs with other men … they would be reduced to living out of their automobile,” says Garland’s IMDb bio. “Prayers were answered when Frances was signed by Louis B. Mayer, mogul of leading film studio MGM, after hearing her sing. It was then that her name was changed from Frances Gumm to Judy Garland, after a popular 30s song “Judy” and film critic Robert Garland.”